National Theatre London
The National Theatre is one of the most iconic cultural institutions in London, with a rich history and an outstanding reputation for producing innovative and high-quality theatre productions. Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, the National Theatre is a prominent landmark in the city, attracting visitors from all over the world.
The National Theatre was founded in 1963, with the aim of creating a home for British theatre and promoting the development of new and original productions. The theatre’s first artistic director was Laurence Olivier, one of the most celebrated actors of the 20th century. Under Olivier’s leadership, the National Theatre produced a range of groundbreaking productions, including modern classics such as John Osborne’s “Look Back in Anger” and Tom Stoppard’s “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.”
Over the years, the National Theatre has continued to push the boundaries of theatre, producing groundbreaking productions that have challenged and inspired audiences. Today, the theatre is home to three auditoriums, each with its own unique character and atmosphere.
The Olivier Theatre is the largest of the three auditoriums, with a capacity of over 1,000 seats. The Olivier is known for its traditional proscenium arch stage, which allows for a wide range of staging options and spectacular set designs. Many of the National Theatre’s most ambitious productions are staged in the Olivier, including adaptations of classic plays and large-scale musicals.
The Lyttelton Theatre is a more intimate space, with a capacity of around 900 seats. The Lyttelton is known for its flexible stage and innovative design, which allows for a wide range of different staging options. The Lyttelton has been the home of some of the National Theatre’s most celebrated productions, including the Tony-winning play “The History Boys” and the critically acclaimed adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s “War Horse.”
The Dorfman Theatre is the smallest of the three auditoriums, with a capacity of around 400 seats. The Dorfman is known for its experimental and innovative productions, which often push the boundaries of what is possible in theatre. The Dorfman has been the home of many of the National Theatre’s most exciting and thought-provoking productions, including new plays by emerging writers and cutting-edge experimental theatre.
In addition to its three auditoriums, the National Theatre also has a range of other spaces, including rehearsal rooms, a costume and props department, and a recording studio. The theatre’s extensive resources allow it to produce a wide range of productions, from large-scale musicals to small-scale experimental performances.
One of the unique features of the National Theatre is its commitment to accessibility and diversity. The theatre has a range of programs and initiatives designed to make theatre accessible to everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances. For example, the theatre runs a scheme called “Entry Pass,” which provides discounted tickets for people under the age of 26 or on low incomes. The theatre also has a dedicated access team, who provide support and advice for people with disabilities or access needs.
In addition to its commitment to accessibility, the National Theatre is also committed to promoting diversity in theatre. The theatre has a range of initiatives designed to encourage and support emerging writers, directors, and actors from diverse backgrounds. The theatre also has a program called “Connections,” which gives young people from around the country the opportunity to participate in theatre workshops and produce their own plays.
The National Theatre has also played a significant role in the development of British theatre more broadly. Many of the theatre’s productions have gone on to tour nationally and internationally, helping to promote British theatre around the world.
What are the National Theatre opening times?
The National Theatre foyers are open from 10am Monday to Saturday.
Do I have to wear a mask or face covering?
We're proud to be See it Safely approved by Official London Theatre, and have received the Visit Britain 'We're Good to Go' industry standard mark, so you can feel confident knowing that staff, artists and audiences are always COVID-secure based on the latest government guidelines. To help keep everybody safe we’re all continuing to wear face coverings Please wear a face covering when in crowded areas, near other people or inside an auditorium. Please advise staff if you’re exempt. Thank you for helping to protect our staff, artists and other visitors. You can rest assured that all areas, including our theatres, are well ventilated and undergo enhanced cleaning between every show. Some of our theatre entrances may have changed since your last visit, so please view our map to familiarise yourselves with entry points.
Do I need to show a Covid pass?
Covid passes are not curently required.
How do I book tickets?
Online Tickets can booked online and are available up to 30 minutes before a performance starts. There is no fee for online bookings. Just click on What's On to select your preferred show and date. By Phone To book tickets by phone, call 020 3989 5455 from 9.30am - 6pm Monday to Friday and 10am - 6pm on Saturdays. A £3 fee per transaction applies to phone bookings. For information about ticket exchange options, visit our Tickets FAQs In Person Tickets can be booked in person from 10am-6pm, Monday to Saturday. After 6pm, we can only help with ticket sales for that night's performances. Access Bookings To book Disabled concession tickets and for any additional support you may require, please call our Access line 020 7452 3961 from 11am-6pm,
Can I return my tickets? Will I get a refund?
We do not offer refunds but we can issue you with credit on your National Theatre account in lieu of your tickets, or exchange to another performance, as long as we have 24 hours notice before the start of the show.
Will hand sanitiser stations be available?
Yes, we will have hand sanitiser stations available throughout the building. We ask all audience members to follow government advice on regular handwashing or use of hand sanitiser.
How can I support the National Theatre?
We would welcome any donation you feel able to give in these unprecedented times. Our recent closure period has had a huge financial impact, so donations will help to ensure that we can continue to share our work with as many people as possible and reopen as strong as ever.
If you still have unanswered questions, please contact us